Sheffield murder victim Simon Holdsworth was preparing to get married to his fiancée next year - but his little son will spend his birthday this Christmas Eve without his dad.
Simon, a 36-year-old paint sprayer, was attacked as he walked home from work on Monday night.
His fiancée Carleen’s father revealed the couple were planning their wedding as he paid tribute to Simon - and described his murderer as ‘evil’.
“Simon was my daughter’s partner, my future son-in-law, with their wedding all planned and set for August next year,” he said.
“This is always an important family time of the year for us as Simon’s son, my grandson, has his birthday on Christmas Eve.
“Next week is going to be difficult to get through.
“Our family has been devastated by what happened on Monday night - all Simon was doing was coming home from work.
“He got off the bus and started his usual walk home across the school fields.
“Evil has then stepped in, smashed in the back of his head, and taken his life.”
Simon, a Sheffield Wednesday season ticket holder who followed his team home and away, was found in a field close to The Hogshead pub in Delves Road, Hackenthorpe, at 6.30am on Tuesday morning.
A post mortem examination revealed he had suffered serious head injuries.
Detectives are trawling through images from CCTV cameras in the area and carrying out house-to-house inquiries, hoping to find local residents who may have seen or heard something suspicious on the night of the attack.
The murder scene was still sealed off and under police guard yesterday while officers continued to search the area for clues.
Posting on the Owlstalk online forum for Wednesday fans, Simon’s pal Otto Man said: “The support the lads get from the Kop will be one voice lighter.
“RIP my old friend Si Holdsworth - Wednesday through and through and one of the nicest blokes you could ever wish to meet.”
Another forum member, Justcraig, wrote: “Absolutely disgusting. He was murdered 50ft from my mum’s house. Scary thought as my dad walks the dog where he was killed.”
Call South Yorkshire Police on 101.